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Thread: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    Honestly... I don't get our society's obsession with longer life while not looking at ways to improve the human condition itself, and I am continually disappointed that the scientific establishment upholds such empty values. What about quality of life? Alcoholics may live longer according to this study, but at what price? Are they happy drowning their sorrows all the time?

    I would rather live 10 years less but in satisfaction with my accomplishments and a sense of happiness than be a weekend binge drinker who works a 9-5 that hates his life. I seriously want to know where the financial support for this study came from.

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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post
    Honestly... I don't get our society's obsession with longer life while not looking at ways to improve the human condition itself, and I am continually disappointed that the scientific establishment upholds such empty values. What about quality of life? Alcoholics may live longer according to this study, but at what price? Are they happy drowning their sorrows all the time?

    I would rather live 10 years less but in satisfaction with my accomplishments and a sense of happiness than be a weekend binge drinker who works a 9-5 that hates his life. I seriously want to know where the financial support for this study came from.
    According to this study, the reason that the non-drinkers die earlier is not because drinking necessarily improves your health, but because drinkers are more sociable, have better friend/family networks, and are less likely to be depressed. That indicates that it's not likely that the drinkers are the ones who hate their lives. If we're just looking at QoL, it seems like moderate drinkers have a leg up.
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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    According to this study, the reason that the non-drinkers die earlier is not because drinking necessarily improves your health, but because drinkers are more sociable, have better friend/family networks, and are less likely to be depressed. That indicates that it's not likely that the drinkers are the ones who hate their lives. If we're just looking at QoL, it seems like moderate drinkers have a leg up.
    Then the health benefits have to do with the other factors you mentioned, not the alcohol itself. People turn to alcohol to relieve stress and to have a social lubricant. People who are that way without the need to drink are arguably just as healthy. The statistic is misleading readers into believing that alcohol = longer life, when on an individual level it won't work that way.

    All it means is that people are using an unhealthy substance to facilitate healthy outlets. I've met people who don't drink at all and their biggest complaint in the social realm is that they don't feel included because they aren't drinkers, so maybe that's why they're unhappy. I hope someday our society shifts away from the need to be altered in order to have human interactions. I myself would fall under the moderate category for drinking, but I usually feel that I'm at my best when I haven't had any.

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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post
    Then the health benefits have to do with the other factors you mentioned, not the alcohol itself. People turn to alcohol to relieve stress and to have a social lubricant. People who are that way without the need to drink are arguably just as healthy. The statistic is misleading readers into believing that alcohol = longer life, when on an individual level it won't work that way.
    Almost certainly true, though I think it's possible that a non-drinker who decides to become a drinker or vice versa might experience a change in the other areas of their life. I think you're right about correlation v. causation, but there's probably some degree of causation.
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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Almost certainly true, though I think it's possible that a non-drinker who decides to become a drinker or vice versa might experience a change in the other areas of their life. I think you're right about correlation v. causation, but there's probably some degree of causation.
    I know on a biochemical level, that if you introduce a toxin to the body, the liver will become much more active, and in turn will purge other toxins. For example, in TCM, people who have really bad psoriasis are often viewed as having built up toxicity in the body. We treat it by introducing some toxic herbs which kick the liver into high gear. Through purging the toxic herbs, other oxidants in the body get purged, and the skin clears up. Often, these herbs are introduced to the body through alcohol solutions, like warmed rice wine, because the alcohol will enter the liver directly and carry the herbs with it.

    People who drink regularly surely have higher liver enzyme levels, which is why moderate drinking would bring some benefit to the body. But you'll notice that heavy drinkers come in second, because the alcohol toxicity begins to cancel out the detoxing effects; and of course, non-drinkers don't have boosted liver metabolism at all.
    Last edited by Orion; 08-31-10 at 07:31 PM.

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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    All that may be true, but it would contradict the statement I made that you quoted, i.e. that the correlation does not mean causation. Though maybe that is what you were going for.


    I've had a harder time making friendship bonds since way before I became a minority as a non-drinker. It may just be a correlated personality trait that people who have trouble with social interactions are less likely to want to drink.

    Though I'm not quite sure why that would lead to a shorter life span. It's all speculatoin in the end.

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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    Quote Originally Posted by rivrrat View Post
    Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds - TIME

    Why the **** hasn't anyone posted this yet? This is cause for a massive celebration with lots of alcohol! **** Yeah. I knew that wine I've been drinking nightly was good for something.

    Related: Study: Alcohol Abstainers at Higher Risk of Depression - TIME
    The study didn't really examine causes-of-death and it's relation to drinking nor does it mention life-expectancy. It examined overall happiness and depression in regards to drinking.

    People in the top fifth percentile of drinkers had the highest odds for anxiety. But it was abstainers who were at the highest risk for depression — higher even than the heaviest of drinkers. Why?

    One reason is that the abstainers in the study sample were more likely to have illnesses such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, and people with chronic illnesses are more prone to melancholy. Also, "some people assume it's healthier not to drink," says Skogen — which may be particularly true of those who have chronic illnesses. Finally, some abstainers were formerly heavy drinkers — alcoholics who had to give up the bottle. It makes sense that they would have more psychological distress than others, but only 14% of the abstainers in the Norway study fit this category.
    A flaw in their study (while it's interesting) is that they only questioned drinking "within the last two weeks" - not "over years" or "binge drinking" and so on.
    Also, how drinking *affects you, socially* is related to society norms, cultural constructs and other things that govern how we *feel* - how we *act* and how we respond to various things.

    Once difference that I've seen with Norwegians VS Americans is that they're far less concerned with physical appearance (much less issues with size/weight) over there - netting a happier mentality overall.

    That being said - I've never met 'happy drinkers' so my personal experience is my reason for not drinking anymore. I've met a lot of 'angry drunks' though - far too damn many. It seems that people who *are* sad tend to drink to try to *make themselves happy* and it doesn't work at all *or* it wears off when the liquor dissipates.
    Last edited by Aunt Spiker; 08-31-10 at 07:35 PM.
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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post

    I've never met 'happy drinkers'
    Buy me a drink or 10 and I'll be happy.
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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post
    Honestly... I don't get our society's obsession with longer life while not looking at ways to improve the human condition itself, and I am continually disappointed that the scientific establishment upholds such empty values. What about quality of life? Alcoholics may live longer according to this study, but at what price? Are they happy drowning their sorrows all the time?

    I would rather live 10 years less but in satisfaction with my accomplishments and a sense of happiness than be a weekend binge drinker who works a 9-5 that hates his life. I seriously want to know where the financial support for this study came from.
    It said moderate drinkers lived the longest. I wouldn't call that binge drinking, or alcoholism. I drink 1 - 3 glasses of wine most nights, I'm hardly a binge drinker or an alcoholic because of that, nor do I do it to drown any sorrows and I certainly don't hate my life. Even when I *was* a heavy drinker I didn't do it because I hated my life, I did it because it was ****ing fun.

    Someone who is "drowning their sorrows" with heavy amounts of alcohol on a daily basis is hardly what this study is talking about.

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    Re: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    That being said - I've never met 'happy drinkers' so my personal experience is my reason for not drinking anymore. I've met a lot of 'angry drunks' though - far too damn many. It seems that people who *are* sad tend to drink to try to *make themselves happy* and it doesn't work at all *or* it wears off when the liquor dissipates.
    I guess I've been fortunate in that I've met very few angry/sad drinkers and mostly happy ones.

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